Experimental Methods and Conceptual Confusion: Philosophy, Science, and What EmotionsReallyAre

  • Phil Hutchinson


Philosophers in the Anglo-American tradition began to take renewed interest in the emotions in the 1960s. Since then the dominant ‘research program’ in the philosophy of the emotions has been—what is widely, though not uncontroversially, called—cognitivism. Authors such as Anthony Kenny (1963), Robert Solomon (1976, 2003c), Gabriele Taylor (1985), and Peter Goldie (2000)1 have offered explanations of the human emotions chiefly in terms of the beliefs (thoughts, judgements, evaluations) of the agents; in the early stages this ‘project’ was seen (often self-consciously) as a corrective to ‘feeling theories’ of the emotions, particularly those offered and/or influenced by William James (1884) and Carl Lange (1885)—often referred to as the James-Lange theory—which depicted emotions in a manner which led to them being characterised as irrational irruptions into an otherwise rational life. Cognitivism was seen as a corrective to this, in that it set out to rationally explain the emotions. Recently, the post-1960s, dominance of philosophical cognitivism has been subjected to strong criticism.


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Copyright information

© Phil Hutchinson 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Phil Hutchinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Manchester Metropolitan UniversityUK

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